Galway manager Kevin Walsh believes that the depth developed in the squad during an injury-stricken league campaign will stand to them as they face into the championship without several key players.
Captain Damien Comer is unlikely to feature during the defence of their Connacht title, with Walsh confirming that a new date of mid-June has been set for the likely return of the Annaghdown man.
Comer missed Galway’s entire league campaign with an ankle injury, and has been ruled out of the opening round tie against London on May 5 and, presuming they get over that hurdle, the next round two weeks later away to Sligo.
He’s recovering well and we are targeting a return in mid-June. We’re not having a great run of it with injuries, but we will just see how it goes.
The Connacht final is scheduled for June 16 — holders Galway and league champions Mayo can’t meet until then — which would leave it very tight for Comer to be fit to play.
Walsh, though, is not looking beyond their trip to London on Sunday week, with injuries to Peter Cooke and Ciarán Duggan adding to an already lengthy casualty list which includes Declan Kyne, Paul Conroy, Adrian Varley, and Cillian McDaid.
Cooke is expected to be out for a number of weeks with an ankle issue while Duggan is troubled by a knee problem.
But Galway also had a heavy casualty list during the league in addition to the absence of the Corofin players for most of it and Walsh believes the way they coped then gives them good options heading into the summer.
“We were happy with our league displays given we were missing so many,” added Walsh, who is preparing the Tribesmen for their fifth championship under his direction.
It was a good position to be in with a chance of qualifying for the league final heading into the last round of games.
He has added two more Corofin players to the squad after their All-Ireland club success, with Jason Leonard and Martin Farragher linking up with the county set-up.
Galway’s attacking options have been increased by the return to fitness of Eamonn Brannigan of St Michael’s. And Walsh confirmed that experienced defender Gary O’Donnell will captain the team in the championship until Comer returns later in the summer.